NATA Outraged By Meigs Field Closure
National Air Transportation Association (NATA)
president James K. Coyne (right) has expressed outrage after the
overnight destruction of the only runway at Chicago's Meigs
"I'm absolutely shocked that Mayor Daley has taken it upon
himself to literally plow up the runway at Meigs Field," Coyne
stated. "That airport has never posed a threat to anyone and
should be a major source of pride to the Mayor and the city of
Chicago. Instead, the Mayor's outrageous actions make him a
Earlier, in the dark of night, heavy equipment was brought onto
the runway at Meigs Field and large portions of the pavement ripped
up, making it impossible for airplanes to use the runway. The
action, apparently undertaken at the Mayor's direction, effectively
closes the airport and the fixed-base operator there - Signature
Flight Support - while stranding some 15 airplanes. The
Mayor's motivations became clearer at an afternoon press conference
where, as expected by NATA, Mayor Daley defended his actions
as taken in the name of "national security."
"For years, Mayor Daley (right) quite properly has
used the political process in his attempts to close Meigs Field,"
Coyne said. "In response, Congress has supported keeping the
airport open, the FAA has supported keeping the airport open -
everyone except the Mayor has supported keeping the airport
open. Ultimately, what he could not achieve through normal
channels he has achieved by hiding behind the curtain of 'national
"According to our contacts within the federal national security
apparatus, currently there is no credible terrorism threat against
the City of Chicago," said Coyne. "Daley himself acknowledged
that no threat exists, yet believing he knows better than federal
security officials, he uses terrorism fears to justify his actions;
frightening the very citizens he claims to be protecting.
Daley is perpetrating the worst kind of fraud on his own
citizens. It's almost as if a sad April Fools' joke was
played a day early. Unfortunately, this is no joke.
"The ramifications of this episode go far beyond the shores of
Lake Michigan," said Coyne. "Now, any community with the
merest whim to close their local airport can do so and point to
Chicago as their justification."
NATA's response to the destruction of Meigs Field also included
a strong letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.
"Without swift and strong condemnation by the FAA and others
within the federal government, Mayor Daley's actions will be known
as the beginning of the end for this nation's highly developed air
transportation system," Coyne's letter stated. "Lacking a
strong federal response, the result of Mayor Daley's actions will
be an environment in which local authorities may, at their
convenience, completely disrupt the flow of interstate air